Each week is a new test for the Hudson’s Bay football team.
Each week the Eagles have risen to the occasion.
Hudson’s Bay is 5-0 after beating Mark Morris 28-14 on Friday at Kiggins Bowl.
For all the different challenges teams in the 2A Greater St. Helens League can bring, Friday’s was the type Hudson’s Bay loves.
That’s because Mark Morris trudged out with its run-first physical offense against a Hudson’s Bay defense that doesn’t mind shoving back.
On offense, Bay also relied on getting behind its five linemen and imposing its will. Of 93 plays from scrimmage in Friday’s game, 75 were runs.
That style of plow-ahead football is just the type that Eagles senior center Timote Vaea loves. That’s because it allows his team to show a strength that few other have been able to match.
“Since January 1, we said this is going to be the best line in the league,” Vaea said. “Every day at practice we always push each other to our fullest.”
An Eagles team not considered among the preseason favorites now sits as the only 3-0 team in 2A GSHL play.
“They knew in the summer that they had a lot of potential,” head coach Mark Oliverio said. “Each week they’re gaining confidence just learning that we can find different ways to win and withstand different challenges.”
The physicality of the Hudson’s Bay offensive line was matched by the Eagles defense. Twice Hudson’s Bay forced turnovers on downs inside its 30 yard line, including turning the Monarchs away one fourth and goal from the 4.
“Our physicality is our force,” senior linebacker Talon Leon Guerrero said. “Our attitude is that we play very hard. Our defense is great this year.”
Hudson’s Bay seized the momentum right away. On the game’s fourth play, William Clark broke free on a quarterback keeper for a 52-yard touchdown run.
The Eagles also got big plays on special teams. After Mark Morris’ first drive went three and out, Rafael Bauman returned a punt 40 yards to the Monarchs’ 21. That set up Aqeel Bauman’s 12-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles ahead 14-0 before the first quarter was half over.
Hudson’s Bay stretched the lead to 21-0 when Malukai Hodges followed his downfield blockers for a 20-yard touchdown run
Though Mark Morris scored with 8 seconds left in the first half on Benjamin Whiteside’s 10-yard touchdown catch, Hudson’s Bay responded early in the second half.
After Mark Morris’ opening drive went backwards, Kendall Vaughn returned a punt 49 yards to the 1 yard line. Rafael Bauman scored on the next play to put the game firmly in Bay’s control.
A physical and turnover-free game like Friday’s is a recipe for success for Hudson’s Bay.
“They enjoy the idea of going toe to toe,” Oliverio said. “They enjoy the challenge of whoever we play.”
HUDSON’S BAY 28, MARK MORRIS 14
Mark Morris 0 6 0 8—14
Hudson’s Bay 14 7 7 0—28
HB — William Clark 52 run (Joey Roeper kick)
HB — Aqeel Bauman 12 run (Roeper kick)
HB — Malukai Hodges 20 run (Roeper kick)
MM — Benjamin Whiteside 10 pass from Nathan Stephens (kick failed)
HB — Rafael Bauman 1 run (Roeper kick)
MM — Kenneth Mullen 30 run (Cade Warren run)
RUSHING — Mark Morris: Asa Pineda 7-32, Kenneth Mullen 19-93, Cade Warren 13-43, Nathan Stephens 5-15, Benjamin Whiteside 4-17. Hudson’s Bay: Aqeel Bauman 13-73, Talon Leon Guerrero 2-15, William Clark 1-52, Rafael Bauman 7-7, Malukai Hodges 1-20, Michael Miller 2-(minus-2), Michael Stump 1-1.
PASSING — Mark Morris: Cade Warren 0-3-0-0, Nathan Stephens 2-5-0-20. Hudson’s Bay: Michael Miller 7-9-0-46, William Clark 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Mark Morris: Benjamin Whiteside 1-10, Kevin Hernandez-Ruiz 1-10. Hudson’s Bay: Jay Peppler 2-13, Maxx Van Hoomissen 1-5, Rafael Bauman 1-7, Noah David 1-10, Talon Leon Guerrero 1-12, Aqeel Bauman 1-(minus-1).